Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beer Exploration at Délirium

If you come to Brussels looking for Belgian beer you won't have to look far. Whether trappist, lambic, blonde, brune, bottled or tapped, beer is everywhere - everywhere! - in this city. But one of the more, shall we say, unique places to get beer the Belgian way is Délirium Café, which is nothing short of a multi-level beer lover's Mecca. Sure, it's a bit of a tourist trap, but it's quite possibly the best tourist trap in Brussels, and definitely worth a visit. After you check out the cultured sights such as the Grande Place and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, your post-sightseeing liquid award awaits at the place that's so famous its patrons refer to it by its first name only: Délirium.

Délerium is tucked away on a narrow street (actually an "impasse") in the old part of central Brussels, not far from the Grande Place. Head downstairs and pull up a chair at one of the barrel tables. Take a minute to admire the decoration, which consists of keg tops and beer signs from around the world, then belly up to the bar, look at the beer menu, and make your choice. Don't be intimidated by the list whose 2000+ options could in fact make you a bit nervous. The names don't come with descriptions, but you can't go wrong by ordering one that sounds nice and enjoying whatever it is you get served. Better yet, go with a group and take turns buying rounds of beers based on name interest alone, which is a lot of fun and will allow you to get an overview of the bar's wares at the same time. Or, if you like to be more strategic in your beer drinking, they do post descriptions on their website.

A warning: Belgian beer is strong. It's not unusual to see anywhere from 8-10% (or higher!) alcohol content marked on the label, which is much more than what you're used to if you're used to drinking American beer. Depending on what kind of night you're looking to have, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, it doesn't hurt to remember that Délirium's mascot is a pink elephant. If you start seeing them, it might be time to head home.


Zhu said...

My friend loved this place when he lived in Brussels. I heard way too many of his pink elephant stories :-D

Lou and Erin said...

Excellent post...either pick the silly name or maybe the bar should have a map of belgium detailing all the breweries and you can do a belgium version of spin the globe, beer style.